BY BROOKE WILLIAMS
Cassie Holley has always seen value in transforming old pieces of decor into new treasures.
“I grew up going to yard sales, flea markets and auctions with my grandfather,” Holley said. “My mother passed away when I was 8, but I remember growing up, we would go to thrift stores. She would bring something home and reuse it or repurpose it or paint it to make it match our home, so it’s been something that I’ve always had in my blood.”
Back in 2014, Holley turned her hobby into a business by opening Rustic Willow, a home decor shop on Bunnell Road in Meshoppen. A few major life changes for Holley led to the shop’s closing in 2016, though she kept Rustic Willow going on the side while also offering her services to a different local business. In July, she was finally able to reopen her shop in its original location.
Through Rustic Willow, Holley offers furniture refinishing services for clients with pick up and drop off options.
“I have also been asked to do so much as people’s kitchen cabinets. I will refinish any surface,” se said. “I also do custom signs, and then I have been running ‘claim it and paint it’ on my Facebook page.”
With “claim it and paint it,” Holley posts photos of pieces that are in good condition, but not always aesthetically pleasing. Customers could either buy the piece as is or ask Holley to give it a face lift.
“A single color and distress and a seal, or I can even do more than one color or I can restain it,” she explained. “I can basically do anything that the client wants.”
Rustic Willow also carries merchandise for sale, including signs and other home decorations.
“I’ve spent the last couple weeks coming up with new designs,” she said. “About 90-95 percent of the stuff in here is handmade, handpainted, done by me.”
Right now, customers can expect seasonal autumn and Halloween merchandise with some winter and Christmas items in addition to everyday decor. This October, Holley also plans to double the shop’s square footage.
“We’re getting another building and doubling our parking as well,” she said. “I opened back here at this location the first weekend of July and it has just expanded so quickly.”
“We might be out in the middle of nowhere, but people don’t mind coming out here,” she added.
With her handmade goods, Holley tries to think as unique as possible.
“Everybody loves the humor signs, the ones that put a good smile on someone’s face, so I try to do those style signs,” she said. “I try not to carry anything that anyone else local has. I try to keep my pieces and my items a little bit different.”
Along with the shop’s expansion, Holley also hopes to enhance Rustic Willow’s online presence. Having recently been approved for an account with Amazon Homemade, she could find new clientele all around the country. In the future, she also may consider breaking into jewelry and apparel, as well as wine and coffee tumblers.
Rustic Willow on 23 Bunnell Road opens for the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, with all other days by appointment.
In May, Holley also began selling her products inside Central Station Marketplace and Antiques on Keyser Avenue in Scranton, and two weeks ago at Your Needful Things in Binghamton.
When Rustic Willow isn’t open, Holley can either be found shopping for supplies, picking up to-be-completed furniture, delivering completed pieces to clients or brainstorming new ideas. However, the mother of five tries to reserve Sundays for family time.
“There’s so much to keep the wheels going,” she said. “Every day, it’s usually sunup to sundown.”
While being a full-time business owner and parent could get hectic, Holley wouldn’t have it any other way since she was able to make her hobby a career.
“It’s like therapy for me,” she said. “It’s something I really enjoy doing.”